You don’t have to be French to be insane, but hey, it does sort of help.
French photographer Marion (Julie Delpy) and American interior designer Jack (Adam Goldberg) have been together for 2 years and don’t show many signs of slowing-down any time soon. However, that all starts to be re-thought about once Marion introduces Jack to her whole family, friends, and ex-boyfriends, that just so happen to be almost every dude they bump into on the street.
Writer/director/co-producer/editor/main-star Julie Delpy really deserves to be in more movies. Everybody who has ever seen a picture of Delpy, knows her for one thing and one thing only: Celine from the Before Sunrise soon-to-be trilogy, and with good reason because both movies are beautiful, showcase her talents as an actress, and feature some top-notch writing on her part. However, whereas her co-star Ethan Hawke has been able to go-out there and make a name for himself as an actor, Delpy has sort of stayed back in the darkness and let roles come her way whenever they do. There’s nothing really wrong with that but it’s also a huge shame too, especially once you see films like these that not only show her off as a great actress, but as a great-worker behind-the-camera as well.
Before all of you dismiss this movie as another, “wacky in-laws” picture along the reigns of Meet the Parents, but with French subtitles, don’t be fooled because this is some rich-writing, at it’s finest. It seems like Delpy has a very, very keen-ear for dialogue but not just in the goofy, French-way, but the straight-laced American-way as well. A lot of the situations at-hand here feel obvious, predictable, and conventional, but Delpy adds a certain-bit of raunchy edge to it that makes it funnier and a lot more unpredictable in where it goes. Watching an American feel awkward as hell around every-single dude that his girlfriend recognizes from a past fling has never been funnier and rather than having it be repetitive and dull by about the 4th or 5th time, it keeps on throwing more and more at us in order to spice things up a bit.
It’s not all about fun and games, though, because this is actually a rom-com, with real romance in it that is actually brought-up to the table many of times. You can obviously tell that these two have problems with one another and are fairly different as well, but they can at least get past all of that because of the ways they are similar, are so strong and make them love each other even more. Yeah, they bicker, argue, and yell at one another quite a bit, but they feel like a real-couple that have been through a lot, know each other a little TOO well, and also can’t find happiness any other way, other than being in the other’s company. It’s a romance you believe in and that’s why when the film starts to get a bit serious by the end, it delivers on what message it’s trying to get across about love and relationships, because the two are so believable together. For as much as they fight throughout the whole hour-and-a-half, the one thing that still stays on your mind is how much they really do love each other, and that’s a fresh and new change-of-pace for a genre that seems to lack those nowadays. Hollywood, take notes from Delpy. The babe has got it all.
As a writer, Delpy is great and shows a lot of strengths in terms of being quirky, goofy, but never over-doing it. However, as a director, she’s a bit messy and makes a couple of rookie mistakes that are willing to be forgiven, only because everything else works so well. For instance, most of the scenes that she has set-up where something goofy or completely insane happens to, you know, make things worse and more unbearable for this couple, seem to go-on a bit too long. There’s a scene with Delpy and Goldberg inside of a cab, where the cab-driver is a racist bigot that pisses Delpy off, right from the start and as funny as it may be to see her and Goldberg’s reactions, it still seems to go on a bit long, to the point of where I got what Delpy was trying to do. She was trying to show plenty of situations where things go from bad-to-worse in a matter of minutes and although that’s the name of the game with this movie, she could have knocked-it down quite a bit to not have it be so noticeable.
Another mistake she makes is by narrating half-of the film, and that’s mainly because it seems so unnecessary. She touches on certain happenings, thoughts, or ideas that seem to be so obvious just by staring at the screen and it’s annoying, not just because Delpy is, but because of the things she’s declaring almost seems like you could say one, big, “DUHH!”, to her. Still, as much as it annoyed me, I still have to say that everything else she does was fine with me in my book and I can definitely tell that this is the type of gal that knows how to make a funny movie, even funnier, just by throwing-in a couple of dirty, bad-girl words, here and there. That’s how I like ’em. Roar!
Delpy, no matter what it seems like she does, is always a delight to watch on-screen and being the lead in her own-script just makes it all the more joy to watch her bring out the best in her skills as an actress. Not many people may know this from all of the other work she has done over the years, but Delpy has great comedic-timing that shines through every time she’s being weird, quirky, or a bit goofy to show that her character isn’t like every, other female-role you usually see in rom-coms. She seems like a chick that I would definitely, most likely go out with (especially if she looked like Julie Delpy, please let there be a heaven) but also one that seems like a bit of a head-trip when it comes right down to the serious-parts of a relationship and making it work. Yeah, her character isn’t perfect and definitely has her own fair-share of flaws going for her, but it seems more honest that it seems manipulative, and it’s only better that it’s Delpy writing it, as well as acting in it too. Delpy needs to be in more movies. I mean it.
Adam Goldberg is the bit on the opposite-side of Delpy, considering how straight and sarcastic he is with the way he handles things in life, and especially with how he handles everything that goes sour on this trip. Goldberg may piss some people off considering he finds something to complain about almost every time, in every scene, but it’s actually very-amusing and funny to watch since, like Delpy, the guy’s got some great comedic-timing that fits well with how deadbeat his character is. Watching both of them just interact, play-around, and mostly, fight with one another, was still fun to watch because Delpy and Goldberg seemed to have forged a chemistry that feels real and honest, rather than just two actors, being mashed-together into one flick, and being forced to act like they love one another. They actually seem like they do and that’s what’s really special about this movie, and the script that Delpy has created.
Consensus: It’s not a perfect directorial-debut by any means, but there is so much else going on here in 2 Days in Paris, that work, that made me laugh, and made me realize that Delpy really is a lovable-personality in-front of the screen, that you start to forget about it and just enjoy all you see on the screen.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!